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What determines acidity?

What determines acidity?

What is the acidity of extra virgin olive oil?

The acidity of extra virgin olive oil must always be less than or equal to 0.8 degrees.

The acidity of the extra virgin olive oil must be less than or equal to 2 degrees.

Finally, the acidity of Lampante olive oil is over 2 degrees.

What factors can affect the acidity of olive oil?

The factors that affect the acidity of olive fat are different, but they are different for increasing or criticising. Depending on the condition of the olives, the following factors influence the increase in acidity:

While the olives are on the tree, the shell protects them, but it can be broken by external elements such as insect bites or hail. In this way, oxygen enters the olives and starts the process of decomposition of the triglycerides, increasing their acidity. In addition, when the olives fall from the tree, are transported to the mill, and even during storage, the olives can be crushed, causing them to ferment, increasing their acidity. During the olive crushing process, i.e. during pressing and juice extraction, the pulp is also exposed to oxygen and high temperatures, which cause intense oxidation of the olives and thus increase the acidity of the oil. Finally, when the oil is poured into the tank, it comes into direct contact with oxygen, which oxidises it and increases its acidity.

On the other hand, the factors affecting the reduction of the acidity of olive oil occur only in the refining process, during which its acidity and all other negative or positive properties are eliminated by chemical processes. In other words, during refining, odour, taste, acidity, colour or any other characteristic that is considered negative is eliminated.

Therefore, the lower the acidity of olive oil, the higher its quality. The acidity of olive oil indicates the amount of free fatty acids in the oil, because precisely because they are free, they are no longer part of the triglycerides.
It should also be noted that, in addition to oxygen and oxidation, acidity can also be affected by:

Quality of harvested olives - Olive trees can be affected by various pests or diseases, which can seriously reduce the quality of the olives and therefore increase the acidity of the oil. When to harvest the olives - The later you harvest, the more olives are spoiled during ripening, which increases the acidity of the resulting oil.

Harvesting, storage and transport methods: the way olives are harvested, whether by poles or mechanised, can damage and even crush the olives. These olives spoil faster as their acidity increases.

The climate where the olive trees live.

Weather phenomena such as hail or frost can greatly affect the olive tree, causing the olives to rot or even fall to the ground. In addition, olives on the ground are very affected by humidity and fungi.

Finally, storage - storage in the factory is a very important part of the process, especially the time between one step and the next. In particular, the time between washing and dyeing the olives should be as short as possible.

Once the olives have been cleaned, they are stored in tanks where they spoil, increasing the acidity index of the oil by a tenth or more each day, depending on their condition. Moreover, this storage time contributes to the development of defects in the resulting oil.

Does acidity affect the taste of the oil?

The degree of acidity does not affect the taste. People often mistakenly think that olive oils that are less acidic are lighter tasting oils and vice versa. Fatty acids are odourless, but can be seen in density and body feel. Another problem is refining, where olive oil loses its acidity, but also its flavour and many of its active ingredients, such as phenolic compounds.

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